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The satire relies on the audience understanding the the "rules" in the first place. (Private Eye being a long running example from the UK.) That's why anything other than slapstick humour rarely travels across cultural boundaries.

I'm quite interested as to why satire is generally - though by no means always - from a left of centre/liberal perspective. Any thoughts?

Bob Wyman

Neither Steve Outing nor I have suggested that the news media should become more "satirical." Rather, we're talking about the fact that much news coverage in the US is rather non-critical and non-skeptical. The fact that Stewart is a comedian is quite irrelevant to this discussion. The relevant point is that he is a non-journalist and thus is not constrained by the so-called "ethics of objectivity" that seems to prevent the media from delivering truly objective reporting.

bob wyman

Ron Davison

There are times in history when satire seems the only way to honestly report the news - such as during the Bush administration in the States. But information is cheap. People are looking for someone to imbue events with meaning - or, for Colbert viewers, to simply call it meaningless.

Seamus McCauley

jamie - the flippant answer is that all the really clever/funny people are left wing. Alas, that probably isn't the right answer. Perhaps a more considered view would be that since humour works (at least according to one theory, specifically Henri Bergson's) by ridiculing repetitive, rote or unadaptive behaviour, it's simply most effective when targeted at political actors we'd tend to label conservative.

Bob - understood, and thanks for clearing that up. I had hoped to build on your point to make my own, apologies if I distorted or appeared to misrepresent it.

Ron - the great tragedy of satire for our generation, to my mind, is that Bill Hicks never lived to witness the Bush administration - and indeed that the Bush administration was never subject to Hicks's scrutiny. We would all have benefited from seeing the meanings each would have imparted to the other.

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